Community Ed director has big plans for hometown

Bob Sumner took the reigns at Milaca's Community Education Department last fall.
Bob Sumner took the reigns at Milaca’s Community Education Department last fall.

The new Milaca Community Education Director Bob Sumner has big plans for his hometown organization.

As a 2002 Milaca High School graduate, Sumner said his connections to the community will be beneficial to his efforts in reaching out to residents. When the job offer was extended to him last fall, he jumped at it.

“I was very excited,” Sumner said. “It’s an exciting thing to know you’re coming back to your hometown as a professional.”

Although his new desk is in a room that used to house the nurse’s office and a few of the faculty faces have changed, Sumner has noticed some things are just as he remembered.

“I like being back in the school,” he said. “It’s an easy transition because a lot of the staff is the same. I think I have a good grasp on [the community] and the connections are the same.”

Sumner began his college experience at Moorhead State University pursuing an undergraduate degree in physical education and health. He transferred to St. Cloud State University where he changed his major to sports management.

“You never know with phy ed. It’s just one of those intangibles in education right now,” he said pointing to the fact that Milaca seniors are not offered physical education at all anymore — a change from his time little more than 10 years ago.

His mid-education career switch also provides Sumner with a chance to work with people of all ages and interests as well.

“I get the whole gambit of participation,” he said.

His active role in Milaca baseball and football during his high school years may have prompted his initial major in college, and he still has the desire to coach. He’s been asked to help assist in coaching the Milaca Youth Baseball league and is looking forward to cracking the bat again this summer.

“I love being around athletics,” he said.

Sumner went on to pursue a masters in educational administration leadership at SCSU where he also spent plenty of time managing various athletic activities for the Campus Rec department. His duties ranged from organizing community leagues and summer sports camps to helping with the popular Earth Day Run and working with the Star of the North Games for amateur athletics around the state.

After graduating in 2009 he took at job at Central Michigan University’s athletic department organizing events and summer camps.

“Being involved in all those different things I saw how I could implement them on a smaller level,” Sumner said. “I have lots of ideas I would like to do. I really hope to build community interest and try to offer things the community is looking for so they can associate with the school.”

For the full story, see the Thursday, March 14 print edition of the Times.